COVID-19 Job Retention Scheme – Summary of Updates to UK Gov Guidance

By Nic Hart

30.04.2020

Whilst I am very mindful of furlough fatigue, there have been further updates to the Government Guidance on The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – both How to Claim (short form and long form) and the Guidance. None of these have substantively changed but there are points to note in each, which are as follows.

The How to Claim (short form) deals with some of the practicalities of claiming. For those yet to do so please note that you need to submit your claim in one session – you cannot save it and return later. Sessions will time out after 15 minutes of inactivity.

There has been guidance given on what steps to take following a claim;

  1. keep a copy of all records, including:
    • the amount claimed and claim period for each employee
    • the claim reference number for your records
    • your calculations in case HMRC need more information about your claim
  2. tell your employees that you have made a claim and that they do not need to take any more action
  3. pay your employee their wages, if you have not already.

It must be stressed that Employers should record and retain documentation at all stages of the furlough process, both to be compliant with the requirements of the Treasury Direction but also to ensure that if there is any audit undertaken by HMRC they have the requisite records set out in the Guidance. Continue reading “COVID-19 Job Retention Scheme – Summary of Updates to UK Gov Guidance”

They think it’s all over – it is now! COVID-19: Furlough and Holiday Update April 20th 2020

By Nic Hart 

20.04.2020

Good evening. I am hopeful that this is the last “ COVID-19 UK Furlough” update you will receive…from me at least!

HMRC has now provided us with some much needed clarity on taking annual leave while on furlough. This has been an update to the Employees Guidance, not the Employers Guidance (as at the time of this email).

Put simply it states;

Continue reading “They think it’s all over – it is now! COVID-19: Furlough and Holiday Update April 20th 2020”

COVID-19: Job Retention Scheme UK Gov update April 10th 2020

By Nic Hart & Liam Hutton

20.04.2020

Last night the Government helpfully delivered Round 3 of the Guidance for employers (and employees) on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Whilst it clarifies some areas and introduces new points, i.e. TUPE it remains silent on the issue of Annual Leave. Please find below an overview of the new Guidance. It is worth reading in its entirety and I attach a copy of the same with the new areas noted in red and highlighted.

Continue reading “COVID-19: Job Retention Scheme UK Gov update April 10th 2020”

Family Leave and Furlough

By Nic Hart & Liam Hutton

03.04.2020

The UK Government guidance sets out the employers obligations for family leave and the ability to claim for enhanced (earnings related) contractual pay through the scheme. As below;

Individuals who are on or plan to take Maternity Leave must take at least 2 weeks off work (4 weeks if they work in a factory or workshop) immediately following the birth of their baby. This is a health and safety requirement. In practice, most women start their Maternity Leave before they give birth.

If your employee is eligible for Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) or Maternity Allowance, the normal rules apply, and they are entitled to claim up to 39 weeks of statutory pay or allowance.

Employees who qualify for SMP, will still be eligible for 90% of their average weekly earnings in the first 6 weeks, followed by 33 weeks of pay paid at 90% of their average weekly earnings or the statutory flat rate (whichever is lower). The statutory flat rate is currently £148.68 a week, rising to £151.20 a week from April 2020.

If you offer enhanced (earnings related) contractual pay to women on Maternity Leave, this is included as wage costs that you can claim through the scheme.

The same principles apply where your employee qualifies for contractual adoption, paternity or shared parental pay.

Continue reading “Family Leave and Furlough”

Data Protection and COVID-19: FAQs on the Approach of European Regulators

By John Benjamin and Edward Pickard

01.04.2020

The spreading COVID-19 pandemic across Europe has meant that many of its data protection authorities have faced questions from organisations as to how they should meet their privacy obligations during this time.

The European Data Protection Board (EDPB) has now published its own guidance to ensure that a consistent approach is taken across Europe regarding privacy compliance during this period. However, this came after a number of national regulators published their own guidance that in some cases is slightly contradictory.

The below article considers some of the key issues that may be facing during the COVID-19 pandemic and how the EDPB and some of Europe’s data protection authorities approach these issues. The EDPB has made clear that it is business as usual when it comes to compliance.

Continue reading “Data Protection and COVID-19: FAQs on the Approach of European Regulators”

COVID-19: Introduction of ‘Online Isolation Notes’

By Nic Hart & Liam Hutton

20.03.2020

The Government has announced that Isolation notes will provide employees with evidence for their employers that they have been advised to self-isolate due to coronavirus, either because they have symptoms or they live with someone who has symptoms, and so cannot work.

For the first seven days off work, employees can self-certify so they don’t need any evidence for their employer. After that, employers may ask for evidence of sickness absence. Where this is related to having symptoms of coronavirus or living with someone who has symptoms, the isolation note can be used to provide evidence of the advice to self-isolate.

The government says the notes can be accessed through the NHS website and NHS 111 online.

Continue reading “COVID-19: Introduction of ‘Online Isolation Notes’”

COVID-19: UK Government Postpones IR 35 Reforms until 6 April 2021

By Nic Hart & Liam Hutton

19.03.2020

As part of the UK Government’s emergency measures to tackle the effects of the coronavirus crisis on the UK economy, it announced on 17 March 2020 that the implementation of new regulations subjecting ‘medium and large’ companies to the off-payroll working rules have been postponed until 6 April 2021.

The Reforms

In July 2019 the Government published draft legislation to the effect that from April 2020, the IR 35 rules would no longer apply where ‘medium and large’ companies in the private sector contract with personal service companies for the provision of workers’ services.

However, this implementation date has now been moved to 6 April 2021 as part of the UK Government’s financial measures in light of the coronavirus crisis.

When eventually implemented, the effect of these changes will be that the IR 35 rules, which place the obligation to assess employment status and operate payroll if appropriate with the personal service companies rather than end user companies, will no longer apply to those entities regarded as ‘medium and large companies.’ Consequently, these end user companies will be subject to an obligation to account for tax and national insurance for workers engaged via a personal service company through PAYE under the off-payroll working rules from 6 April 2021.

Continue reading “COVID-19: UK Government Postpones IR 35 Reforms until 6 April 2021”

Good Work Plan – Section 1 Statements from 6 April 2020

By Nic Hart & Liam Hutton

11.01.2020

Because of the Governments Good Work Plan, there are some important changes to the obligations on employers on issuing a written statement of particulars of employment, referred to as the ‘Section 1 Statement’. Employers currently often ignore that section.

Below is some advice that we recommend to include in offer letters to avoid confusion and dispute further down the line.

The ‘Section 1 Statement’ – Current Position

Continue reading “Good Work Plan – Section 1 Statements from 6 April 2020”